Thursday, September 20, 2007

Is It True?

I'm continually asked at various places around the www if the news about Dr. Bussard's Fusion Reactor being funded is true. Yes it is.

Dr. Bussard has been funded. Unfortunately I can't give details due to agreements with my sources. However, none of this is a deep dark secret and if you ask the right questions to the right people in the right way you can get answers.

I have heard from more than one of my sources that Congress is ready to get involved if WB-7 test reactor results look promising.

There are a lot of forces converging on this if it looks like an energy solution.

1. The CO2 crazies
2. The no coal for energy nuts
3. The no (fission) nukes people
4. The where will our energy come from in 2100 fear mongers
5. The Space Transport wackos
6. The We hate Saudi Arabia fanatics
7. The What about the plutonium people
8. The think about what it means for the Navy jokers
9. The windmills are bad for yacht owners lobby
etc.

As soon as I get releases from my sources I will report in more detail.

14 comments:

LarryD said...

And a Bussard reactor won't present a proliferation problem either.

But it can take decades to get a new power plant built (a lot of it due to regulations), and that's after the full scale demo works.

The CO2 crazies will come up with some objection, they always support an energy supply that is theoretical, and oppose those that can actually be deployed in any significant capacity.

And it doesn't, by itself, solve the transportation fuel issue, though it just might make hydrogen practical. But that switch over will take decades too.

Cormac-Ballz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cormac-Ballz said...

My, my you sound almost disdainful of lobbyist groups! I wonder why that would be the case? ;)

M. Simon said...

Cormac,

Well yes I'm disdainful. I'm a small government Republican.

Yet I'm not totally anti-government. I think funding of this project by the government is the best way to go because then it becomes harder to block the technology. Any one can buy a license.

papertiger said...

I was thinking of the reason why this has never taken off.

Simon you know the reason?

You are trying to sell it to liberal arts majors, but your pitch is geared to theoretical physicists.

The few times when it is remotely approachable, like when Dr Bussard gives his laundry list of world problems this gadget is going to solve, the scope is so overwhelming that even if it is true, the average person is going to look at it as too good to be true.

Some advice. Write a five paragraph pitch aimed at a guy like me, who doesn't know his butt from a hole in the ground regarding energy production.
Avoid terms that are linked with high profile Hollywood movies, like Mr Fusion or Polywell. These just make me doubt it.
Make it understandable without telling me what it's going to do for Buddist Monks on the River Ganges, cause honestly I could give a rats ass about those people.

If you give me a post like that, I can sell this thing for you to people who would advertise it, and make it real.
Or you could.

You know what I'm saying?

M. Simon said...

Tiger,

The sales pitch has been quite effective.

First Dr. B is funded.

Second Congress is starting to take an interest.

BTW when it didn't seem like the project would get funded I was preparing just such a pitch.

At this point I'm most interested in attracting engineers, mathematicians, and scientists. i.e. the people who will be needed to ramp the project up. In fact what I have designed is a self study program that can bring a technically oriented person up to speed in a few months.

LarryD said...

Cormac, i'm a technical type myself, though my specialty is computer science, not physics. It's hard do a non-technical explaination that's not face to face without talking down, but I'll give it a try.

1. It uses born and hydrogen for fuel, both are non-radioactive and common. We know how to handle both safely. Gasious hydrogen is actually the more risky stuff to deal with, boron is pretty safe. Elemental boron is non-toxic and the most commom compounds are about as toxic as table salt. A lot cheaper and safer than dealing with uranium or thorium.

2. The process doesn't generate much in the way of secondary radioactives, almost no radioactive waste to dispose of. Cheaper shielding and containment requirements.

3. The reactors are a lot cheaper and simpler to build. Dr. Bussard only needs a few million dollars to do the two last experimental stages, and the last one involves building a full sized reactor.

Short summary, a lot cheaper and safer than fission reactors, no radioactive waste to worry about, nor weapons material either.

Diodor said...

How long before the new reactor is going to be tested?

M. Simon said...

Diodor,

I can't tell you when first results will be in.

However, full results are expected by April or May 2008 with a decision on continuing the project coming a few months after.

Tony Belding said...

The transportation fuel issue is going to be solved, all the pieces are falling into place. Petroleum is just beginning to become scarce enough to prod industry in that direction. The switch-over will indeed take decades, mainly because of the scale of the problem (including the sheer number of vehicles that will need to be replaced, and the time required to ramp up mass production of Li-ion cells), but it's not any kind of technological hold-up. No further breakthroughs are required.

There's already a race underway to bring BEVs and PHEVs to market. Railways can be electrified, as they have already been in Europe and Japan. Biofuels can fill some remaining gaps for trucks and farm machinery, construction equipment, military vehicles. . .

Aviation presents the toughest problem, since it requires large amounts of concentrated fuel. However, if we have cheap and plentiful electric power, it could open some interesting options for synthesizing that fuel. So. . . I'm quite optimistic.

M. Simon said...

Tony,

There will be one small breakthrough required:

finding enough Lithium.

===

Electric trains are not practical in America. The distances are too long to make electrification worthwhile.

Few commuter rail lines in America are self supporting.

Really - it is autos or nothing.

Battery Electric Vehicles are nice. As long as you don't have to charge the batteries in under an hour.

Plus you have the problem of cars that have run out of juice. It is not practical to bring a 1 gallon can full of electrons to recharge the batteries.

Plug in Hybrids are the way to go. They will wind up dominant.

LarryD said...

All biofuels have scaling problems, including the algae based ones. People don't realize just how much fuel we need, day to day.

And, even assuming adequate capacity, charging batteries (or accumulators, or whatever) is an issue. How many Watt-Hours does a car need, for a practical range? Then try and play with the figures for recharging that puppy. Overnight. Or in under five minutes, which is what people experience at the pump.

Diodor said...

simon,

Thanks, I can hardly wait. I figure betting odds are against this working, but if it works and delivers electricity 10 times as cheap in unlimited quantities, I would be very surprised if there isn't an easy if wasteful method to turn it into liquid fuel that burns in current engines.

M. Simon said...

Dr. Bussard thinks that the key to liquid fuels is fermentation followed by cheap distillation.

He also thinks water desalinization for agriculture is a good prospect.